You can’t have a celebration without a parade, and the Archbold Rotary Club is planning one for the Sesquicentennial celebration in July.
“It’s always fun to share your community with each other as well as visitors, and a parade is a great way to do it,” said Mari Yoder, Rotary president.
“I remember when we moved to Archbold. It was 25 years ago.
“It was when they had the parade for the 125th (Quasquicentennial celebration), and I remember coming down and saying, ‘This is such a cool town.’ It was fun!”
For this year’s parade, “We truly want to celebrate the community, and all the cool things in our community and in our surrounding communities,” she said.
Nuts and Bolts
So how does one start planning a parade?
“The first thing is to come up with an application and rules,” Yoder said.
Application forms and rules are available on the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce website, www.archboldchamber.com, and on the Sesquicentennial website, www.archbold150.com.
There are also paper copies in the village offices and the chamber office.
“What we’ve done is broken it down into three jubilee (50-year) periods that match up with historical periods like Sauder Village is doing in the historical display at the village,” she said.
Neither knew the other was doing three 50-year periods.
“Great minds work on the same channel,” she said.
Part of organizing a parade is meeting with people, encouraging them, “and giving them ideas so their ideas can start churning,” she said.
“We’d love to see some historical entries, picking a point in time in Archbold, or an event, or possibly a character from our history, a person. That would be awesome.
“We’re encouraging businesses or organizations to look back to where they started. Is there a way to tie in their past and their current? And their future?”
Another opportunity the parade gives is an opportunity to promote businesses and who they are.
“I think it would be fun if we got a group that put together some kind of entry of businesses of the bygone era– The City Drug, the Stotzer Hardware, the Scott Theatre,” she said.
Not All Historical
“Everything doesn’t need to be historical. It could just be the Boy Scouts who do a float, or an entry that represents who they are.
“We’d love to see some dance teams, or some baton twirlers, or gymnastics groups. It could be a sports team that wants to be represented in the parade, maybe somebody who won a tournament or whatever.
“Tractors and other farm equipment that represents our rural heritage, past and present.
“We’re looking for just silly entries. We’re looking for anything that’s fun and entertaining, or significant to community, so it’s really wide open to what you want it to be.”
Of course, a parade must have marching bands.
“That’s right. The Archbold High School Blue Streak Marching Band will be in it, and we’d love to have some other musical entries,” she said.
“It could be a church choir who wants to be on a flatbed singing. Or could be an ensemble of banjo players. We’d love to see anything and everything; the more creative, the better.
“Animal entries are required to have their own pooper scooper, though. But someone could dress up their dogs and bring them through.
“We want this to be a community parade, so if you want to have a group of kids who want to dress up their bicycles and be part of the parade, that would be awesome.”
If someone has an antique or classic car, it could be in the parade as well, “but the first period is 1866 to 1915, so it might be more of a horse-drawn item,” she said.
“The only limitation we have is we may need to cut off registrations at some point because we need to keep the parade about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, because we’re closing down the streets.
“We’re not looking to have a parade that goes all day,” she said.
The parade will follow the same route as the annual Parade of Lights.
It will start at the ConAgra parking lot and go east on Stryker Street, turn north on North Defiance Street, turn west on Walnut Street, and turn south at La Choy Drive, before ending back at the starting point.
Anyone who wants to help with the parade should contact Rotary.
“The more, the merrier,” she said.
Some types of entries may be cut off. For example, if there are a large number of antique cars or tractors entered, some may be turned away.
“We don’t want a parade that’s all antique tractors or antique cars,” she said.
“We hope that’s our problem. That would be a wonderful problem to have. ‘Oh, I’m sorry, we already have too many entries.’”
The parade will start at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, July 16.
It will be the start of a big day in the village that includes the Archbold historical play and concludes with fireworks that night.
The registration deadline for parade entries is Friday, July 1.
There is no cost to enter, but entries with a political theme must pay a fee.
“We just want to have a nice mixture of things and a wonderful parade,” Yoder said.